A space for poems you like to read again and again.
To add to our growing anthology, this weekend’s previously published poems are by Maureen Weldon, Simon Williams, Douglas Lipton and Paul Tristram.
How to send, see first post of the month.
While the sky shimmers like shot silk,
chimneypots a toothy smile,
I count the pots, 1 2 3 4 5.
On my kitchen table, sheets and sheets
of screwed up poems,
I will flatten them tomorrow
for shopping lists.
While perfumed smells of hyacinths
bring memories of my mother:
‘they make lovely Christmas presents’
she would say, as she potted and tended …
The evening moves along
as evenings do…
The moon a half golden bracelet.
The sky cluttered with stars.
All is still, no cars, no trains.
And in this stillness
the midnight robin sings.
First published, Crannog Poetry Magazine – Ireland, 2008, then in Caught In The Net, The Poetry Kit, 2013
and in the pamphlet Midnight Robin, Poetry Space Ltd, 2014
Speakers of Eyak
There are believed to be 20 languages for which there is
only one speaker left in the world. Eyak is still spoken in
South-East Alaska by two aged sisters, if they meet.
I speak the broken mouths of trappers
and the men that come for trees;
smooth words, rounded
like the barrels of guns they polish.
I have need of conversation.
My years are many
and to some that come and go,
I will tell old truths as I remember.
They may recall them,
when the snow has covered me
and act on any good that’s in them.
I speak with their curved sounds,
but there is also Yanwek –
with her I can talk straight.
Our voices sharp and cutting
in our throats like old spears,
talk as we have always talked.
We say how now
we can’t keep out the cold with furs.
We sing of moons cut from the ice
and other moons, reflected in the holes.
This was a prizewinner in the National Poetry Competition in 1981 and first published in Simon Willams’ book Quirks, Oversteps Books, 2006. Image: damaged tree, South East Alaska
Come and I will give thy flesh
unto the fowls of the air,
and to the beasts of the field
1 Samuel, 18 : 44
My son and his cousin discover
a beetle in the house.
They hold their hands this wide to tell me
then show me. And it is big, lugubrious
and frowsy black,
with red and jagged corporal stripes stitched
across its back.
I lift it outside and sling it (David’s pebble)
at the sky,
expecting it to unhinge its elytra
and to fly.
But it lets itself plummet at the tarmac
like a stone,
an ugly gem dead-set in the accuracy
of its choice of home.
Then the trundling starts. As it shoulders
its way to the door,
I envisage its manoeuvre as a tank crossing
the trenchless floor.
Indestructible like cousin cockroach, it bustles.
The atom can split
and the world’s sphincter muscle engulf itself
– but not it.
The small juggernaut plods
like the march of time,
searching, searching for the carcass of another
We can run inside. We can slam the door,
check the books of insects for what
we already know:
that the sexton beetle always
finds the crevice
which death leaves behind, And snuggles its way
in beside us.
First published in “The Outside World” by Douglas Lipton (Markings Publications, Kirkcudbright, 1996)
A Moment’s Reflection Broken
He sat on the embankment
throwing stones at a wooden lamppost,
someone phoned the police.
“What are you doing?” asked an officer.
He ignored him
carried on throwing stones at the wooden lamppost,
aiming for the upside down engraved writing
two foot from the floor.
“If you do not desist from what you are doing
we will have to arrest you.
You could have someone’s eye out!”
He sighed and stood up,
walked left away from them,
up the side of the bridge,
down the country lane
to the small granite church
where they were burying her.
First published in Reach, Issue 109, Jan / Feb 2007